Constitutional Change To Increase Samoa Auditors Term Of Office

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Bill introduced to amend constitution

By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia and Niccola Marie Hazelman

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Oct. 29, 2012) – The Government is to amend the Constitution to give the Controller and Chief Auditor a new title and a longer term in office.

Whereas the Chief Auditor is to be called the "Controller and Auditor General," his term in office will increase from three to 12 years.

The changes are outlined in the Constitution Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2012.

Clause 6 of the bill is particularly interesting. It reads: [Clause 6] "repeals and substitutes Article 99, which sets out the term of appointment for 12 years.

"This is designed to protect the Controller from executive interference in light of the functions and powers of the Controller to audit public money."

While a Member of Parliament told the Sunday Samoan that the Constitution Amendment Bill 2012 has been tabled in Parliament, this could not be ascertained at press time yesterday.

But a copy obtained by the Sunday Samoan is signed by Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, as the Minister responsible for the Office of the Attorney General.

Under the "Explanatory Memorandum," it explains that the Bill is designed to replace Articles 97 to 99 of the Constitution. These articles deal with the appointment and functions of the Controller and Chief Auditor.

The bill will also amend Article 83 of the Constitution in "order to strengthen the office, appointment, functions and powers of the Controller."

The policy objectives of the Bill are to deal with the following:

Clause 8 of the amendments also provides "the continuation of the current Controller when the Bill is enacted and commenced, including the rights and benefits."

The current Chief Auditor is Fuimaono Camilo Afele.

He joined the Office in 1996. Fuimaono graduated from Otago University, New Zealand in 1995 with a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Accounting and in 2007, he graduated from Monash University, Australia with a Master of Public Policy and Management.

Fuimaono is also the son-in-law of Prime Minister Tuilaepa.

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